New Working Paper - Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Rice - Dr Alfred Gathorne-Hardy

Globally rice is a crucial crop: it has a central role in providing food, it has a central role in providing employment, and it has substantial environmental impacts. This paper looks at the environmental impacts from rice farming, specifically greenhouse gas emissions.

Rice provides the staple food for over 60% of the world’s population.  Globally 80% of rice is grown by small farmers in low income and developing nations, and in India rice farming is a key source of employment for the 60% of Indian workers still dependent on agriculture for work.  Yet rice production is also an important source of greenhouse gas emissions, for example responsible for between 3 and 8 times the emissions of wheat, due largely to the methane emitted from flooded paddy fields, and the energy needed for pumping water.  

Understanding how these emissions arise, and potential mitigating steps, is important not only for environmental scientists, but also for social and political scientists who wish to understand the interactions between the social and environmental aspects of agriculture.

This paper is aimed at scientists and non-scientists alike - while covering all the science associated with rice farming greenhouse gas emissions, it aims to do so in a manner understandable by all.